Palestinians plan "other options" if UN bid fails
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Last Updated: Friday, October 21, 2011, 10:17
  
Ramallah: Palestinians want the Security Council to decide on their bid for full UN membership soon so they can pursue "other options”, the Palestinian UN envoy said, repeating charges that Washington is procrastinating to avoid a vote.

Riyad Mansour, in comments to a Palestinian newspaper, did not say what the Palestinians would do once their bid for UN membership reached its conclusion. It is widely expected that the bid will fail because of US opposition.

However, Palestinian officials have said that failure at the Security Council would push them to seek an upgrade in their UN status to that of a "non-member state”, something they can secure from the General Assembly without Security Council approval.

The Palestinians currently hold the status of an "observer entity" at the United Nations.

"We are serious about this application and we want it to reach its logical conclusion in the hope that we succeed," Mansour told Al-Ayyam newspaper in remarks published on Thursday.

"But if we do not succeed, we want this effort to end in a near time frame so we can resort to other options available to us."

Diplomats at the United Nations said on Wednesday the Palestinian quest was likely to come to a head on or around November 11, when Security Council members plan a final meeting to decide their response.

A Western diplomat in New York said he did not expect a council vote on the issue -- if there is one -- to take place on November 11 itself.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted the application for full UN membership on September 23 in the face of opposition from the United States and Israel.

They accuse him of trying to bypass the two-decade old peace process with moves they describe as unilateral. Washington says the new Palestinian approach will not bring them any closer to their goal of an independent state.

This can only happen through peace talks, it says.

Dead end

The Palestinians respond that the peace process has hit a dead end and the continued expansion of Jewish settlements threatens to destroy any chance of the establishment of a viable state. Recognition as a state in the UN system will level the playing field in future peace talks, they argue.

Recognition as a "non-member state" will pave the Palestinians' way to membership of UN and international agencies to which the Palestinians are currently denied access.

These include the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians have suggested they could bring cases against Israel.

Mansour said the United States was attempting to obstruct the application for full UN membership, repeating an accusation made by other Palestinian officials.

Washington was using "all means available to it with the aim of obstructing the Palestinian application in the Security Council”, he said.

While the Palestinian application looks certain to fail in the council, Abbas has made a major effort to attract nine votes in support, which would force the United States to use its veto and be seen by the Palestinians as a moral victory.

To pass, resolutions need nine votes and no vetoes.

Washington and its allies have been trying to defuse the diplomatic crisis over the Palestinian UN application by trying again to revive peace talks which broke down over a year ago because of the settlement issue.

International mediators will hold separate meetings with both sides next week in Jerusalem, though analysts say there is little chance of a breakthrough because of a chasm between them, particularly over the issue of settlement expansion.

Bureau Report


First Published: Friday, October 21, 2011, 10:17


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